The Self-Awareness Guy

Leadership 101 – How to Delegate More Effectively

Do you know what your employees do best and do you let them do it? One of best ways that managers can make their lives easier is by delegating effectively. When you delegate well you encourage your employees to make decisions for themselves, let go of having to control everything, identify employee strengths, allow employees to make mistakes and make yourself available if needed. It helps you live a happier life because you don’t have to take on unrealistic amounts of work or always worry about what everyone is doing.

A practical definition of delegating is to let people do their jobs without getting in their way. This is a challenging concept for managers who are used to doing everything themselves or being involved in every aspect of their organization’s operations. It requires a move from constantly directing people to letting them generate results on their own. Many well-meaning and highly competent leaders don’t realize that they can get better results and relax more often by letting go of the reins a little bit.

Becoming an expert delegator begins with understanding your personal management style. Once you know what your style is you can add new skills to become an even better manager. On one end of the spectrum is the passive manager: They avoid conflict, don’t communicate out loud with people, don’t interact with employees very much, keep to themselves, let people do whatever they want and try to ignore difficult situations. They tend to be good listeners and think before they act. On the opposite end of the spectrum are controlling managers who have to be involved in everything. They always let you know where they stand, bark orders, watch your every move, micromanage your work and let you know who’s boss. They can be decisive leaders and communicate regularly.

There’s nothing wrong with either style but each has predictable results. The passive manager tends to create a workplace that lacks direction and guidance because there isn’t someone present to let people know what’s expected. The controlling manager promotes an environment of structure and order but may not give people the freedom to demonstrate their talents or do the work on their own. What savvy managers have found is that there is a happy medium where you can keep your organization running well and encourage employees growth; the actively delegating manager.

The actively delegating manager understands that it is her job to help her people grow. She invests the time to understand the skills that each of her employees brings to the organization and uses them to improve the functioning of the agency. She assigns work based on people’s interests and then lets them run with it. She doesn’t have an overwhelming need to control everything or do things herself. She knows when her employees need help and when they are fine because they aren’t afraid to talk with her. Managers of this type don’t avoid their employees or monitor their every move. They are fun to work for because employees feel valued and supported. They tend to be balanced and easy to get along with because they aren’t stressed out trying to avoid people or always be in their business.

You can delegate more effectively, reduce your workload and let your employees shine starting today. Begin by identifying your employees’ strengths and assigning work based on what they are interested in doing. Feel free to give them some of your work as long as it is well suited to their skills and abilities. People tend to be more motivated if they are working on assignments they enjoy doing. Once you assign the work, walk away. Your job is done and you can focus on things other than hovering. Make yourself available should someone have a question or need some help. Trust that people will do a good job just as you would.

As you practice your new delegating skills, remember how it feels to work for someone who recognizes and uses your talents, lets you do your job and is there if you need her. Delegating doesn’t mean giving up responsibility it is simply letting your people perform well so they make themselves and you look good. When you allow your employees to excel based on their talents you create a harmonious workplace where people feel valued and are far more likely to be productive.